Democrats announced they would boycott voting on Judge Amy Coney Barrett. A lot of good that did.

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WASHINGTON DC-Senate Democrats made it clear that they would boycott voting on Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett at today’s Senate Judiciary Committee.  Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced the planned boycott in a speech late Wednesday on the Senate floor.

The report came one day after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that the full Senate will vote next Monday, October 26th to confirm Barrett to the Supreme Court.

Schumer declared:

“{that the boycott} is not a decision the members of the committee have taken lightly, but the Republican majority has left us no choice. We are boycotting this illegitimate hearing.

“We should not be moving forward on this nomination,” Schumer said, calling Barrett’s views “so far out of the mainstream”.

He was referring to the fact that no Supreme Court nominee has ever been confirmed so close to a presidential election.  Yet there is little they can do to prevent Republicans from pushing ahead to confirm Barrett.

The Judiciary Committee, which is controlled by Republicans, is expected to change the rules if necessary to recommend Barrett’s nomination to the full Senate.  Senators are planning a rare weekend session to secure her confirmation on Monday.

Schumer also forced a vote to recess the Senate until after the Nov. 3 election, a push that failed.  He said:

“These are all such violations of American norms, values, decency and honor.” 

Schumer said on Monday:

 “The nomination of Amy Coney Barrett is the most illegitimate process I have ever witnessed in the Senate.  And her potential confirmation will have dire, dire consequences for the Senate.  For the Supreme Court.  And our entire country for generations to come.”

Barrett, a 48-year-old appellate court judge who has spoken out against abortion and a court ruling on the Affordable Care Act, is on track to lock in a 6-3 conservative majority on the high court for years to come.

 

Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, so it is almost certain that President Trump’s pick for the court Justice will be confirmed.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and the committee chairman said in a statement:

Judge Barrett deserves a vote and she will receive a vote.  Barrett deserves to be on the Supreme Court and she will be confirmed.”

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Committee rules state that at least two members of the minority party (Democrats) would need to be present to constitute a quorum for doing business.  Graham made no mention of the process ahead if Democrats fail to show up.

Mike Davis, a former top aide on the panel who now advises Senate Republicans, acknowledged that the committee was well within its normal practice to hold the vote, even if Democrats skip it.  He said the longstanding practice has been to allow business to go forward if all members of the majority (Republicans) attend.

Two Republican senators on the panel, Mike Lee and Thom Tillis, tested positive for COVID-19 after attending the Rose Garden event where Trump announced Barrett as his nominee.  Both senators have since returned to in-person sessions, stating their doctors cleared them from quarantine.

There were two Republican Senators, Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), who objected to a quick vote, but they are not on the panel.  Even if Democrats choose to oppose Barrett’s confirmation, Republicans have the votes to push ahead.  No Senate Democrats are expected to support Barrett’s confirmation.

As was expected, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday unanimously advanced the Supreme Court nominee.  Barrett was voted favorably out of the Judiciary Committee by 12-0, with no Democrats present. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set Barrett’s confirmation on a fast-track following the death last month of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  If Barrett is confirmed on Monday, she may find herself seated on the Supreme Court that very same day.

McConnell said:

“We will be voting to confirm Justice-to-be Barrett next Monday and I think that will be another signature accomplishment in our effort to put on the courts, the federal courts, men and women who believe in a quaint notion that the job of a judge is to actually follow the law.” 

McConnell stated that during the public hearings Barrett demonstrated what he called “sheer intellectual horsepower that the American people deserve to have on the Supreme Court”.

Senator Graham addressed the Democrat’s boycott of today’s hearing:

“That was their choice.  It will be my choice to vote the nominee out of committee.  We are not going to allow them to take over the committee.  They made a choice not to participate.”

Graham slammed Democrats for allegedly beginning the process that led to the increased politicization of the Supreme Court during the Obama administration, when they removed the filibuster for lower federal court nominees. 

Graham went on to say:

“I remember telling Sen. Schumer, ‘You will regret this.’ Today he will regret it.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) spoke out against the vote saying:

“My Democratic Senate colleagues and I boycotted the Supreme Court nominee committee vote today.  Let’s be clear, this nomination process is a sham and shows how Republicans will stop at nothing to strip health care from millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions.”

Harris had sent out a tweet from her Senate Twitter account Wednesday, accusing the Republican Party of trying to “roll back Americans’ rights” altogether.

Harris tweeted:

“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg advocated for human rights and equality, stood up for the rights of women, and so much more.  Now, everything she fought for is in jeopardy.  Republicans are trying to roll back Americans’ rights by replacing her with someone who will undo her legacy.”

Now that Barrett was reported out of committee Thursday, it is expected that McConnell will bring the nomination to the Senate floor on Friday and set up a procedural vote Sunday.  That would allow for a final confirmation vote on Barrett for Monday. 

“I regret that we could not do it the normal way.  But what I don’t regret is reporting her out of committee… I could not have lived with myself if I denied her her day, Graham said.  This was about Judge Barrett,”

Graham added:

“This is about her and her nomination.”

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